We reckon d'Arenberg are not only the masters of great wine names, but of having some of the best value/quality around. There are no shortcuts taken in the production of any of the wines – low yields, foot trodden, basket pressed all make for seriously good wines.
Crawl out of your Chardonnay, Sauvignon or Gris shell and try something a little off to the side. This Rhone blend from the McLaren Vale is just thing to keep you comfortable moving out of your comfort zone. It has delicious flavours, wonderful texture and makes for a cracking glass of wine.
The two white Rhone grape varieties marry together very well here, with the apricot stone fruit, ginger peel flavours of the Viognier being balanced by the lemon/orange pith flavours added from the Marsanne. Medium bodied with a touch of juicy acidity adding freshness.
Winery notes (2022 Vintage)
"Many of McLaren Vale’s vineyards are on free-draining soils underlain with limestone, formed by the calcareous remains of the local marine fauna. One such creature was the Hermit Crab, a reclusive little crustacean that inhabits the cast-off shells of others. The Osborn family thought the name appropriate for this, McLaren Vale’s first ever blend of Viognier and Marsanne. “Hermit” is also an abbreviation for the French appellation where the Marsanne grape variety dominates.
Small batches of grapes are crushed gently and transferred to stainless steel basket presses. Fermentation is long and moderately cool to retain fresh fruit characters. About 4% underwent wild fermentation for extra complexity. 14% of the Viognier is fermented in aged French Oak to add mouth feel and support the subtle Viognier tannins. The Marsanne component received similar treatment, but was not blended until the final stages of the winemaking process.
Shining pale golden colour. Fragrant aromas of tropical fruits like pineapple, melon, white peach and citrus blossom. The palate is far beyond the norm. Clean and fresh flavours of honeydew melon, pear, stone fruits, lemon curd and a characteristic pickled ginger in the end. Long and refreshing with bursting flavours through the finish. Perfect wine to pair with Asian food."
96/100 Winestate Magazine, Australia (2022 Vintage)
"Nice aromatic bouquet; a creamy delicacy of honeysuckle and melon with plenty of apricot/honeydew melon varietal flavours."
92/100 David Wlker Bell, WineFolio.co.nz, November 2022 (2022 Vintage)
"A wine from McLaren Vale, where they’ve been making this for over 15 years, before many people had tried Viognier outside of the Rhone. A rich, medium-gold colour in the glass. An abundance of perfume, showing apricot, almond, canned peach, ginger, fig, gooseberry, tarragon, lemon curd and rose petal on the nose. Dry but plush, generous with ripe juice and a turn towards tropical flavours of melon and pineapple. Excellent acidity carries those characters well, and there is also a gentle grip of apricot kernel and peach skin fuzziness in a light tannin presence. More herbal notes twoards the finish, that is pithy, balanced and very more-ish."
Reviews for the 2021 vintage below…
92/100 qwinerevews.com (2021 Vintage)
"Get around this bargain lovers. Freshly picked apricots, apricot nectar, cashews and nougat. A ribbon of cinnamon spice weaves its way through the mouth. There's a suggestion of sourdough bread and mandarin peel too. Plump and rounded, it has a great mouthfeel as it rolls around joyously. Those fine spices just continue to tap away – there's some serious gravitational pull here for those who enjoy their white wines with a little weight and presence. A no brainer for the money."
Huon Hooke, The Real Review, March 2022 (2021 Vintage)
"For many years, this blend has been a byword for great value in affordable, medium-bodied, soft dry white wine. With a very light yellow colour, its bouquet is spicy and layered with almond-like touches. The wine is rounded, rich and slightly grippy on palate with notable tannins and a quite generous, ample and lasting flavour. There’s a tickle of sweetness in perfect balance and an enduring aftertaste and a clean dry finish thanks to the gentle tannins. Top value."